7 Productivity Tip for Mums working from home

Last week I was in need of a mental break so ditched the office to work from home for a few days. It’s always nice to take a break from ringing phones and dealing with issues that don’t really require my input … but when I am in the office, it seems like they do!

Working from home can be a dinosaur sized trap though. When you’re a mum there is ALWAYS ‘something to do’ at home and in the blink of an eye you’ve morphed from working mum to domestic goddess faster than you can say “I’ll just quickly put the washing on …”

So here are my top seven tips for getting some actual work done (with a bonus tip at the end!). These tips worked for me last week, and they even worked when I had a newborn doing two solid 2 hour naps a day. Nice!

Get out of your pyjamas!

1. Plan your day the night before.

Make a list of “MUST DO” items and “SHOULD DO” items. Knowing in advance what you need to accomplish for the day puts the pressure on and means that your subconscious doesn’t think you’re holiday.

2. Get dressed for work.

It’s so tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day when you’re at home but this sets you up poorly for the day ahead. Have a shower and get dressed. Do your hair. Do your makeup. Bingo, you’re ready to work.

3. Start the day with a tidy house.

Not ‘clean’ mind you. JUST TIDY. Leave nothing around that you will tempt you to ‘just quickly put this away’ because that’s a slippery slide to ‘on the shower floor scrubbing grout with a toothbrush.’

4. Pretend the laundry contains nuclear waste.

It’s probably not too far a stretch anyway and I can’t emphasise this enough. DO NOT GO NEAR THE LAUNDRY. ‘Just one load of washing on’ means ‘just one load of washing to hang up’ and ‘oh, while I am in here I might just tidy the linen cupboard’. Goodbye morning.

Nick Jonas - what's not to love?

5. Turn the TV off.

When you’re flying solo at home it’s tempting to have the TV on for company. No go. Did Kylie just say Delta’s going out with Nick Jonas? I totally love Nick Jonas (he’s 18, I’m 33 … who cares … I just need to check this out …)

6. Don’t get the shopping delivered during work hours.

Do you do your shopping online? You should – it rocks. Don’t take delivery of it during working hours though. By the time you’ve put it all away, decided all that food makes you hungry and make yourself something to eat, you’ve lost 45 minutes. Dammit.

7. Take a lunch break.

Make it at least one hour. That’s plenty of time to get something to eat, go to the post office, check facebook/twitter, read the newspaper and re-set your brain for the afternoon. Do not do chores in your lunch break. Do not do work in your lunch break. Give your brain a rest.


8. Start the day with a clean toilet.

This isn’t a productivity tip. If you live in a house that contains the male of our species, this is a career saving tip. It’s insurance in case a client decides ‘I’m in the area and can I quickly drop by’ and then ‘oh, is it ok to use your bathroom’. Oh god …

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  1. says

    This is great Kelly! I was only just going through these thoughts in my head this morning when I was still in my jarmmies at 11am…”but Im sick” was my excuse, then for some reason I ventured into the bathroom and before I knew it I was brushing my teeth and in fresh clothes for the day and what do you know? I felt so much better!… didn’t change the fact that my noes is dripping like a tap but it did change my outlook for today =) Love your ‘creativity’ post too BTW, I read it first before it lead me to this one =)

  2. says

    Great blog post Kelly! I knew a lot of these but it’s great to be reminded because it’s so easy to let things slip when you’re in the thick of things – i.e. the dressing gown tip! Cheers, Alli x

  3. says

    Hi Kelly

    I totally agree with Tip #2. This gets me mentally ready for a working day and reminds me that it IS a working day. There’s a whole novelty with working in your PJ’s… But, it just makes me feel too lazy. Putting your clothes on is so basic! Yet, it’s a good signal to the brain that says, “Okay, new day today, let’s go and get some work done.”


  4. says

    I can not feel human until I have a shower and my cup of tea in the morning. I even get up in the middle of the night (well 5.30am with a newborn certainly feels like the middle of the night!) just to get those 2 things done in peace so I can function for the day. I so need to start writing lists though and stop thinking of them and not acting on them.

  5. Kelly Exeter says

    Thanks girls!
    Kathryn – when my little one was a newborn, I was exactly the same as you! My number 1 priority for the day was to have a nice hot shower and have breakfast. Even if it meant waking up 45 mins before bubby woke up in order to achieve it!

  6. says

    Hi kelly,

    I am working as a vitrual asssistant for small business and I totally agree with your tip #7. I do not take lunch break for an hour and sometimes this affects my work productivity.

    • says

      I am guilty of this too Kristy. I found though that doing it means that you never clear your head and I end up doing lower quality work in the afternoon (plus I end up snacking – bad Dana) so I make a point of at least making a decent lunch for myself and eating it away from the computer, it might only be 15 minutes off but it seems to make a difference.

    • says

      Kristy – I have my husband to thank for this one! When he started working with me he would FORCE me to get out and take a break at lunch and I really noticed the difference come the afternoon!!